Jeff Klinzman, an adjunct English professor at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, was on the “Iowa Antifa” Facebook page when he responded to a post by indicating his desire to “clock” President Donald Trump “with a bat.”
Reached by a local broadcaster, Klinzman said, “I affirm that I am ‘Antifa.’” He said that he didn’t want to apologize for his statement about Trump.
Antifa is a far-left group that pushes violence against its ideological opponents, including police officers, journalists, and conservatives.
Klinzman regularly railed against conservatives on his Facebook page and said in one post about evangelical Christians, “Kill them all and bury them deep in the ground.”
“It’s not pretty, and I’m not proud, but seeing what evangelical Christians are doing to this country and its people fills me with rage, and a desire to exact revenge,” he wrote.
In a statement to the school community, Kirkwood President Lori Sundberg said officials had spoken with Klinzman and that he then resigned.
“I understand that our decision to remove Mr. Klinzman from the classroom may be supported by some and criticized by others. I also understand that in today’s climate, some may use this decision to support broader arguments about free speech on college campuses. That’s why I want to be very clear with you the reasoning behind this decision,” she said.
“It is Kirkwood leadership’s assessment that the attention this matter has garnered has the potential to create an environment that is disruptive to our mission. Our decision to remove Mr. Klinzman from the classroom has nothing to do with the substance of his views or his right to express them. Rather, our decision is based solely on our commitment to fostering a safe learning environment for our students, faculty, and staff.”
“I also want to be clear that Kirkwood Community College fully supports Mr. Klinzman’s right to articulate his views in whatever forum he chooses. This action does not in any way prevent him from continuing to engage in the expression of free speech. However, when the expression of views by him or any member of our community is perceived as placing public safety in jeopardy, or hampers our ability to deliver on our mission, we will always do what is necessary in service to our students’ pursuit of a higher education,” she added.
State Rep. Ashley Hinson, a Republican, was among the officials expressing disapproval of Klinzman’s views. “Free speech on college campuses is essential to the free exchange of ideas and our democracy. However, the comments and behavior from this Iowa professor in Cedar Rapids are inexcusable. Advocating for Antifa? Really?” she wrote on Twitter on Aug. 23.
After Klinzman resigned, state Rep. Steven Holt, a Republican, wrote, “Looks like the Kirkwood ‘Antifa professor’ no longer has a job.”
Klinzman, 62, later told The Gazette that he wasn’t surprised to be told about the situation by officials at the community college.
“They talked about how this had broken on Fox and they were getting thousands of complaints. They were getting threats. People were threatening to burn down the college. They said, ‘We can’t have you coming back this semester,'” he said.
Klinzman claims that his First Amendment rights were violated and plans to sue the school.
“They made it clear—you can resign or we’ll terminate you,” he said. He said he agreed to resign when the school agreed to pay him for the fall semester despite him not teaching now. Sundberg told The Gazette that the school is paying Klinzman $3,624 but said he was not asked to quit, showing the email that Klinzman sent announcing his resignation.
Klinzman said he’s not affiliated with Antifa but said he’s opposed to fascism, a form of authoritarian nationalism. “The situation really escalated and changed dramatically and very rapidly,” he said.